Washington, D.C. - We are delighted to announce that, upon the urging of the National LGBT Bar Association's Executive Director, D'Arcy Kemnitz, the ABA House of Delegates has adopted HOD Resolution 108D, which urges federal, state, local, territorial and tribal courts to extend Batson v. Kentucky to prohibit discrimination against jurors on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.
The National LGBT Bar Association played a pivotal role in the passing of this ABA Resolution. The LGBT Bar drafted the resolution, worked with the Criminal Justice Section of the ABA to bring this to vote at the 2018 ABA Midyear Meeting, and encouraged the passage of this Resolution before the House of Delegates. Resolution 108D passed on a unanimous voice vote, without objection.
Batson v. Kentucky, a 1986 Supreme Court decision, protects jurors from being removed due to their race, gender or any other classification warranting heightened scrutiny. Through adopting Resolution 108D, the American Bar Association is requesting that courts view sexual orientation and gender identity under this classification of heightened scrutiny.
This critical advancement brings the LGBT community an important step closer to true equality within the legal system and is the culmination of years of hard work by the LGBT Bar. Sexual orientation and/or gender identity should never be used to bar an American from their constitutional rights and duties. Denying jury access on the basis of gender identity or sexuality also denies Americans of their right to a jury of their peers.
The National LGBT Bar Association will continue to combat discrimination against the LGBT community throughout the country, including continuing our efforts to codify protections for LGBT jurors.
Read Resolution 108D at the link www.abajournal.com/files/2018_hod_midyear_108D.pdf .
The National LGBT Bar Association is a national association of lawyers, judges and other legal professionals, law students, activists and affiliated lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender legal organizations. The LGBT Bar promotes justice in and through the legal profession for the LGBT community in all its diversity.